Public Safety

Iowa to adopt new tracking system for rape kits, Attorney General's Office says

Photo for the Washington Post by Will Strawser
Photo for the Washington Post by Will Strawser

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that Iowa will launch a tracking and reporting system for sexual assault evidence kits, which will provide transparent status updates to rape survivors, law enforcement and medical professionals.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division has chosen STACS DNA, a sample-tracking software company, to develop the system. All regions of the state are expected to have access to the system by July 1, 2020.

Track-Kit will follow the rape kits from the time each kit is distributed to a medical facility for use in an exam until the case receives final disposition. Additionally, the tracking system will enable every sexual assault survivor to receive confidential information on the status and location of the kit, as well as local sexual assault resources and contact information.

“This software will increase accountability and transparency throughout the process,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. “Our office has worked hard to reduce the backlog in untested rape kits, and this system will empower survivors of sexual assault.”

Iowa will be the seventh state to adopt the STACS DNA tracking system.

The Crime Victim Assistance Division received a $796,985 grant from the National Institute of Justice, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, to develop and implement the system.

The Attorney General’s Office created the Iowa Sexual Assault Kit Initiative in April 2015 to address the issue of untested rape kits. As of Nov. 5, more than 1,600 kits have been sent to private labs for testing, and 1,245 had been tested. About 235 DNA profiles have been entered into CODIS, the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, and 127 were hits or matches to DNA in the database.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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